Poznansky-Katz Courts website

The judge assigned to handle a corruption investigation against a former aide to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been removed from the case, after it was revealed she had traded messages with investigators and planned her response to their appeal before the hearing in question ever began.

The probe, dubbed “Case 4000”, centers on suspicions that a Netanyahu aide provided chief Bezeq shareholder Shaul Elovitch with regulatory benefits in exchange for sympathetic coverage to the prime minister and his wife on the Walla! news website, which is owned by Elovitch as well.

Earlier this week, Shlomo Filber, the Director General of the Communications Ministry and a close associate of Netanyahu, signed a deal to turn state’s evidence in the case.

Filber is expected to incriminate Netanyahu in exchange for a light sentence. Filber himself, who was one of the seven people arrested this week in connection with the case, is suspected of taking bribes, disrupting interrogation procedures, and accepting something fraudulently.

The police, according to Hadashot, are not willing to say on what matters the prime minister will be questioned, and it is not yet known how long they will be allotted for this purpose.

On Sunday, Channel 10 revealed a series of instant messages on the WhatsApp chat program between Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz, and an investigator from the Israel Securities Authority.

In the messages, the Israel Securities Authority official informed Poznansky-Katz of his agency’s intention to request that several suspects’ arrests be extended, telling the judge to “act surprised” when he makes the request in court.

“I’ll practice looking surprised”, replied Poznansky-Katz.

“We’ll request three [more days], but you can really just give [us an extension] of two days,” the official wrote.

“If you keep telling me everything, I’m going to really work to act surprised,” Poznansky-Katz said.

Following the revelation, the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court ordered that Poznansky-Katz be removed from the case, and the matter assigned to another judge.

In addition, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and Supreme Court chief justice Esther Hayut have indicated they plan to file complaints against Poznansky-Katz for her behavior.

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